Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says he is fit and “raring to go” as he readies himself to leave COVID isolation at his Sydney home and return to the federal election campaign trail.
In an online virtual news conference with senior members of the Federal Parliamentary Media Gallery, Mr Albanese was first asked if he felt his role may have been diminished over the past seven days as his senior frontbenchers took centre stage while he was locked away after testing positive for the COVID-19 Omicron strain.
Before Mr Albanese could answer, the vision being fed to newsrooms around the nation dropped out after becoming scrambled by static or interference, only to correct itself and for the news conference to continue. (main picture)
In a tour de force performance the Opposition Leader then delivered a series of pithy, colourful, and pointed barbs outlining what he said were the shortcomings of the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government.
He went on to deliver a summary of Labor’s alternative policies and initiatives while also painting vivid word pictures of the Liberal and National parties’ “record of failures” in key policy areas.
Mr Albanese moved on to canvass the history of Reserve Bank of Australia decisions in relation to the setting of its cash rate target over the past quarter-century and the impact of its settings on monetary policy and home loan interest rates, putting a lie to the government’s claim that interest rates are always lower under an LNP government.
He then recited from memory a list of current key economic indicators – often citing relevant statistics to three decimal places, sometimes four.
Mr Albanese ended his opening remarks by challenging reporters who were online to ask him for any other figures they desired, which a number did and which he immediately provided, leaving them speechless and without further questions.
Once the news conference ended reporters stayed online and compared notes, with all agreeing that Mr Albanese appeared to have transformed himself during his period of enforced isolation.
But all also agreed he had committed a major gaffe by presenting a flawless, perhaps “too perfect” and “unnatural” performance at a time voters were seeking authenticity in their political leaders.